El Al Suspending Cairo Flights Indefinitely?
Israel's national airline, El Al, is suspending all flights to Cairo indefinitely, according to a media report published Sunday morning by the Hebrew-language newspaper Ma'ariv.
If correct, this would be the first open-ended suspension of flights to Egypt since the signing of the Camp David Accords.
The report quoted a letter to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman from El Al CEO Elyezer Shkedy, who said the operating and security expense of flights to Cairo was simply too great for the airline to bear. Shkedy added in his letter there was not enough commercial traffic from an economic standpoint to justify continuing the route.
Arutz Sheva attempted to confirm the report by trying to contact the airline numerous times, but was unable to reach a spokesperson. Calls to Israel's Foreign Ministry were likewise unsuccessful in reaching a spokesperson on Sunday morning.
El Al's customer service department confirmed that presently there are no flights traveling to Cairo, but was unable to say whether any decision had been taken to discontinue the route indefinitely.
After nearly six months of canceled service, El Al resumed flights to the Egyptian capital in August 2011, following a suspension of its flights following the ousting of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak earlier in the year, during January 25 Tarir Square revolution. At the time, only 11 passengers were aboard the first flight into Egypt, which arrived on a Friday. A return flight to Tel Aviv carried 14 people later the same day.
The airline has been flying to Cairo since Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.